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EXCLUSIVE: Majority Of Intelligence Community Agencies Believe Coronavirus Leaked Out Of Wuhan Lab, Senior Intel Official Says

The majority view among the U.S. intelligence community agencies is that COVID-19 is natural and accidentally leaked out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China, a senior intelligence official told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

While not all of the 17 agencies that make up the IC are fully behind the idea that the novel coronavirus was an accidental laboratory leak, most believe that to be the case, according to the senior official. The official added that the holdouts are still open to the possibility that the virus leaked from a laboratory.

The unanimous view of the IC is that the virus was not the result of an intentional act, the senior official noted. (RELATED: WHO Says China Blocking It From Investigation Into Coronavirus Origin)

That official’s account confirms what Fox News White House reporter John Roberts reported Saturday, and matches with what President Donald Trump has said publicly.

An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Roberts cited a senior intelligence official in reporting that “there is agreement among most of the 17 Intelligence agencies that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab. The source stressed that the release is believed to be a MISTAKE, and was not intentional.”

“Sources say not all 17 intelligence agencies agree that the lab was the source of the virus because there is not yet a definitive ‘smoking gun’. But confidence is high among 70-75% of the agencies,” Roberts added.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed in a statement Thursday that the IC is “rigorously” investigating whether the virus was a result of a lab leak, while making clear that COVID-19 is not believed to be “manmade or genetically modified.”

Trump said during a press conference Thursday that he has seen information that indicates with a high degree of confidence that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

(Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli is seen inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan. (Johannes EISELE / AFP via Getty Images)

“Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of the virus?” Roberts asked Trump Thursday.

“Yes, I have,” Trump answered. “And I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Tara Reade’s allegation against Joe Biden: What we know

“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny,” Biden said in the statement.

He continued, “Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.”

CNN has spoken with Reade, her former neighbor, a friend of hers at the time, and her brother regarding the allegation. CNN has also spoken with Biden’s campaign and several longtime aides and former staffers to Biden.

Here’s what we know about the allegation:

Reade’s allegation

Reade publicly accused Biden last year of touching her shoulders and neck and making her feel uncomfortable. At the time, she did not accuse him of sexual assault.

She first came forward with her sexual assault allegation against Biden in interviews in recent weeks with multiple media outlets, including CNN.

Reade told CNN that in 1993, when she was working as an aide in Biden’s Senate office, she was asked to deliver a duffel bag to the then-Delaware senator. In a corridor somewhere in the Capitol Hill complex, Reade said Biden “had me up against the wall; he used his knee to spread open my legs,” and “put his fingers inside me.”

Reade said when she pulled away, Biden said to her, “Come on man. I heard — I thought you liked me.” Biden then looked angry, according to Reade, and said, “You are nothing to me. You are nothing.” She said that Biden eventually took her by the shoulders and said words to the effect of, “You’re OK. You’re fine,” before walking away.

Reade has said that she complained to multiple colleagues in the office about interactions with Biden that made her uncomfortable, but not about the alleged assault. Reade has also said that she filed a complaint with a personnel office on Capitol Hill at the time, but that she does not have a copy of it. It is unclear what kind of complaint — and with what office — Reade may have filed. She has said she filed a complaint related to the uncomfortable interactions in the office, but not sexual assault.

The ‘Larry King Live’ video

Reade said on the night of the alleged assault she spoke on the phone with her mother, Jeanette Altimus, who was “adamant” that she call the police. She said she did not call the police. Reade said she recalls her mother telling her sometime after the alleged assault that she had called into Larry King’s show. Altimus died a few years ago.

A newly surfaced video from 1993 appears to feature the mother of Reade calling into Larry King around the time of the alleged assault to seek advice about “problems” her daughter had been having while working for a “prominent senator.”

In a “Larry King Live” segment that aired on August 11, 1993, on CNN, an unnamed woman calls in to the show with her location identified on the screen as San Luis Obispo, California. The show was about the cutthroat nature of Washington, DC, politics and media. The woman does not mention sexual assault or harassment, nor does she describe in any detail what “problems” she might be referring to. Her daughter’s name and Biden are also not mentioned.

In a phone interview with CNN, Reade said she is certain the voice in the video belongs to her mother.

Former neighbor’s story

Lynda LaCasse told CNN in a phone interview that Reade, her former neighbor, told her about the alleged sexual assault within a few years of the incident.

LaCasse said it was 1995, perhaps even early 1996, based on her recollection. LaCasse said she often sat outside on her stoop smoking Virginia Slims, and that on this particular day, she cried as she discussed with Reade a custody battle for her kids. Reade began to cry too, LaCasse said.

“She started talking about Joe Biden. And I didn’t really know much about Joe Biden,” she said. LaCasse said that Reade told her that when she was working in Washington some years prior, Biden “had pushed her up against a wall and he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside of her, and she was dealing with the aftermath of that.”

CNN verified through public records searches, photos and an examination of Reade’s past government identification that LaCasse and Reade were once neighbors.

Friend’s story

A friend of Reade’s, who asked to remain anonymous in order to protect her privacy, told CNN that Reade told her on multiple occasions while she was working in Biden’s Senate office about physical interactions with the then-senator that had made her feel uncomfortable.

The friend told CNN that she and Reade became close in the early 1990s when she spent multiple semesters interning in Washington, DC, to receive college credits. One of her internships was with the late-Sen. Ted Kennedy.

In 1993, when the friend was back in school, she received a phone call from Reade. Reade told her in detail that she had been sexually assaulted by Biden on Capitol Hill. The friend said she believes Reade called her within days of the alleged assault. The friend said she advised Reade against filing a police report at the time.

Reade’s brother’s story

The Washington Post interviewed Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, who told the paper that she had told him in 1993 that Biden had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders but not about the alleged sexual assault. Several days after that interview with Reade’s brother, the Post said, “he said in a text message that he recalled her telling him that Biden had put his hand ‘under her clothes.'”

Moulton later told CNN that Reade told him in the early 1990s that she had been asked to bring Biden his gym bag, and that in a private setting, he had cornered her against the wall and put his hands under her clothes.

Biden campaign response

Before Biden denied the allegation himself in a statement and on camera, Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, Kate Bedingfield, issued a statement calling Reade’s allegation “untrue.”

“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard – and heard respectfully,” Bedingfield said. “Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

Former Biden aides respond

Marianne Baker, who was Biden’s executive assistant in the 1980s and 1990s when Biden was a senator, also previously said in a statement provided through the Biden campaign that she was never aware of any reports of inappropriate conduct, including from Reade.

“In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone. I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager,” Baker said. “These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades.”

Dennis Toner, who was Biden’s deputy chief of staff at the time and one of the people Reade said she had discussed her complaints with, told CNN in an interview on Thursday that he had no recollection of Reade or any conversation related to sexual harassment allegations.

“I clearly would remember if we — that is, if Tara and myself — had any kind of conversation regarding sexual harassment allegations, let alone something involving Sen. Biden. It would stick in my mind. It would be burned in my mind,” Toner said. “I don’t understand it.”

CNN has interviewed half a dozen former Biden aides who worked in his Senate office in the early 1990s. All of them said they were not aware of any sexual harassment or assault allegations.

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China Stops WHO from Joining Virus Investigation, Refuses To Hand Over Lab Logs

The World Health Organization has been denied its requests to participate in the investigation into the coronavirus’ origins, according to a WHO representative in China.

Dr. Gauden Galea told Sky News that although there is a national investigation happening, the organization has yet to be invited to join.

“WHO is making requests of the health commission and of the authorities,” he said. “The origins of virus are very important, the animal-human interface is extremely important and needs to be studied.”

“The priority is we need to know as much as possible to prevent the reoccurrence.”

The WHO has also not been able to investigate logs from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan CDC, the two laboratories working with viruses in Wuhan, China, Galea said.

TRENDING: CNN’s Stelter Blasted Hydroxychloroquine for Virus, But Turns Out His Wife Uses It – Just Not for COVID

“From all available evidence, WHO colleagues in our three-level system are convinced that the origins are in Wuhan and that it is a naturally occurring, not a manufactured, virus,” he told Sky News.

These logs are necessary to understand the origin of the virus and “would need to be part of any full report,” according to Galea.

China has been adamant that the investigation into the virus’ origins should be done by scientists, not as part of an independent public inquiry — as countries like Australia have requested.

Galea also responded to criticism the WHO has received due to its early response to the pandemic.Preview Changes (opens in a new tab)

Do you think China should let the WHO investigate?

“We only know what China is reporting to us at that period in time,” he said.

He added that China “will have to answer for” claiming between Jan. 3 and Jan. 16 that there were only 41 cases in Wuhan.

“Is it likely that there were only 41 cases for that period of time? I would think not,” Galea told Sky News.

“Is that a matter of difficulty in finding were they getting their act together, is it a question of definition? I cannot speculate. But it would have been during that period obviously some growth would have been happening.”

The WHO has come under fire for a Jan. 14 tweet that read: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”

RELATED: Biden Vows To Return Funding to WHO, Ignores Significant Coronavirus Blunders

Galea said the WHO suspected there would be human-to-human transmission, but the cases reported and investigations did not confirm that.

Galea also cautioned against planning on the production of a vaccine to end the outbreak soon.

“The fact that we don’t yet have a vaccine [in production] for any coronavirus suggests that we should not be making plan A the fact that we’re going to have a vaccine by such and such date,” he said.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Joe Biden tweets support to US women soccer players on equal pay

In a tweet Saturday afternoon, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee encouraged the women’s national team to not give up their fight.

“This is not over yet. To @USSoccer: equal pay, now. Or else when I’m president, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding,” he wrote on Twitter.

This isn’t the first time Biden has backed the USWNT. In 2019, he tweeted his best wishes to the team ahead of their match against Chile in the World Cup.

“As we cheer them on in the World Cup, we must support their fight off the field for equal pay,” he wrote on Twitter. “In 2019, it’s past time we close the pay gap and ensure women get paid as much as men. #OneNationOneTeam”

The USWNT originally filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation in March 2019, with 28 members of the team listed as plaintiffs.

Friday’s ruling was issued in response to a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the lawsuit by the federation in US District Court for the Central District of California, according to a court filing.

The suit alleged the US Soccer Federation’s payment practices were unfair and discriminatory.

Judge R. Gary Klausner said Friday in his decision that members of the USWNT failed to prove any sort of wage discrimination under the Equal Pay Act. He said the women’s team played more games and made more money than the men’s team.

Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players, said they will appeal the decision. A trial is scheduled for June 16.

“We are shocked and disappointed with today’s decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay,” Levinson wrote on Twitter on Friday. “We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender.”

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Military flyover in Atlanta lures people outside

By The Associated Press

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— British death toll from coronavirus surpasses 28,000.

— Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus continues decline.

— Spaniards flock to exercise after 7-week lockdown.

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WASHINGTON — The top Republican and Democrat in Congress say they are respectfully declining an offer of quick COVID-19 tests offered by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Limited testing for lawmakers has become an issue in decisions about when they should return to Washington.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had tweeted Friday that three rapid-testing machines and 1,000 tests were being sent for the Senate to use next week.

Trump also tweeted that “tremendous” testing capacity is available for senators returning on Monday, and for the House.

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday in a statement that they want the equipment to go to front-line facilities instead.

Pelosi decided against having her members join the Senate in returning next week because the Washington area remains a virus hot spot.

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PARIS — French Health Minister Olivier Veran said people traveling into France, including French citizens returning home, will be placed in a 14-day quarantine as part of new extended proposals to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

Entering France is currently very restricted to essential travel, and a travel certificate is required for everyone entering the country. The proposals are being sent to Parliament next week.

Veran said that “the compulsory quarantine will concern anyone entering the national territory, an overseas territory or Corsica.”

It’s not clear if the quarantine would apply only to travelers from beyond the Schengen border and Britain. The Schengen Area includes 26 countries and encompasses most of the European Union nations.

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ATLANTA — People across metro Atlanta went on roofs and patios, to parks and even cemeteries, or stopped on the side of a usually busy interstate to watch a military flyover Saturday afternoon.

The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels flew to honor first responders and medical teams. They passed over downtown and midtown, where major hospitals are located, and were loudly cheered.

People outside at historic Oakland Cemetery generally adhered to social distancing guidelines but few wore masks. Some carried lawn chairs and beverages while others pushed strollers, while many tried to capture the moment with phones or cameras.

Georgia has already allowed businesses like hair and nail salons, restaurants and gyms to open with social distancing restrictions.

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LONDON — Britain’s Department of Health says a total of 28,131 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, an increase of 621 from the previous tally.

The figures include deaths as of 5 p.m. on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday told the nation that Britain had passed its peak in the COVID-19 outbreak and said he has plans to reveal a “road map’ outlining how lockdown steps might be eased in the coming week.

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ISTANBUL — Turkey’s health minister has announced 78 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 3,336.

The minister tweeted Saturday that an additional 1,983 had been infected, increasing the total to 124,375. “For the first time since March 30, the daily case number has fallen below 2,000,” he tweeted.

The new number leaves Turkey ranked seventh in the world for highest infection rate from the novel coronavirus. Russia’s confirmed infections of 124,054 had briefly surpassed Turkey’s.

The minister also tweeted that 58,259 people have recovered from COVID-19, including 4,451 since Friday.

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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s agriculture department says the state’s animal agriculture industries are making adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Saturday in a release that the changes will strengthen the supply chain and make workers safer but could “lead to some near-term speedbumps.” He was responding to concerns of food shortages due to national shutdowns of beef and pork producers.

Mary Kelpinski, chief executive officer of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, says there’s plenty of meat in cold storage around the state but advised shoppers to resist panic buying of meat products in the weeks ahead.

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ROME — The number of beds treating COVID-19 patients continued to decline as Italy prepared to ease its strict lockdown measures on Monday.

The Civil Protection Agency said that there were 212 fewer people hospitalized with the virus and 39 fewer in intensive care in the past 24 hours, numbers that have been consistently easing in recent weeks. That has given authorities confidence to be able to cope with any new spike in cases as more businesses reopen and individuals are allowed more freedom to move around their towns and cities of residence.

At the same time, the number of dead nudged up the most in 11 days — by 474 — and the number of people who have recovered from the virus was the lowest in more than two weeks. Italy has registered the most deaths after the United States, at 28,710.

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PARIS — France hopes to extend the health emergency put in place to fight the coronavirus crisis until July 24.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran made the announcement on Saturday, arguing that the extension of the measures that began March 24 is required to prevent a new flare-up of infections.

The proposal, which will be put to the French Parliament next week and is expected to pass, is centered on the notion that a “premature” relaxing the state of emergency “could see a risk of the outbreak” increasing.

France is among countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, having recorded some 24,594 deaths and 167,346 confirmed cases so far.

The new proposals include a data system for those that have contracted the virus, that will function for up to a year.

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ISTANBUL — The Turkish trade ministry lifted export restrictions and a requirement to obtain advance permission for private companies to export medical equipment needed in treating COVID-19.

The decision, published in the Official Gazette, rescinded restrictions on exporting ventilators, intubation tubes and ICU monitors, among other equipment.

The trade ministry lifted restrictions on the export of ethanol, cologne, disinfectants and hydrogen peroxide.

Turkey also announced a military plane delivered medical supplies, including locally produced ventilators, to Somalia. Ankara has so far shipped needed supplies to at least 55 countries, including to the United States.

Turkey, a country of 83 million, has more than 122,000 cases and more than 3,200 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities have announced three deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

That raises the total to 143 — 106 men 37 women. The average age of the victims is 74.

There have been eight more confirmed infections for a total of 2,620 cases.

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BARCELONA, Spain — Spaniards filled the streets to exercise for the first time after seven weeks of confinement to fight the coronavirus.

People ran, walked or rode bicycles under a sunny sky in Barcelona, where many flocked to the maritime promenade to get close to the still off-limits beach. Others jogged around parks and along sidewalks across the nation.

“Some people think it may be too early, as I do, but it is also important to do exercise for health reasons,” says 36-year-old Cristina Palomeque in Barcelona.

Spain has 24,824 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 215,216 infections. The lockdown has helped reduce daily increases of infections.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysian minister has defended the mass arrest of immigrants without valid documents in viral hotspots.

Senior Minister Ismail Sabri says 586 immigrants were detained during an operation Friday in several buildings under strict lockdown in Kuala Lumpur.

He says they all tested negative for the virus and have been sent to detention camps for breaching immigration laws. Rights groups have slammed the government for breaking its promise to not act against migrants who come out for virus screening. They say the inhumane move during a pandemic could hamper efforts to curb the virus.

Ismail brushed off the criticism Saturday, saying authorities were acting within the law. He says Malaysia has taken care of the immigrants’ welfare during the lockdown, but they must face the law as they have no valid documents. The country has more than two million immigrants living illegally in the country.

Malaysia, which has 6,176 virus cases and 103 deaths, will let most businesses reopen Monday before a partial lockdown ends May 12.

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LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have named their baby boy Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson, honoring their grandfathers and doctors who cared for the U.K. leader after contracting the coronavirus.

Symonds made the announcement on her Instagram page, posting a picture of her cradling the infant. She praised the maternity team at University College Hospital in London, saying her “heart is full.″

The birth came just days after Johnson returned to work following his hospitalization for the coronavirus. He spent a week in London’s St. Thomas’ hospital, including three nights in intensive care.

Symonds wrote in the post, explaining the name as “Wilfred after Boris’ grandfather, Lawrie after my grandfather, Nicholas after Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart – the two doctors that saved Boris’ life last month.’

Johnson’s office says he’ll take paternity leave later this year.

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MADRID — The Spanish government will require commuters on public transportation to wear masks, starting Monday.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the announcement on Saturday. That’s when Spaniards were allowed outdoors to exercise for the first time in seven weeks. Sánchez says he’ll ask the Parliament for an extension of the state of emergency established March 14 and set to expire on May 9.

Also Monday, people can go to restaurants and cafes to take away food. Bookstores, hair salons and some retail outlets can open.

Sanchez says, “Now we are finally seeing the results of all these weeks of confinement, (…) and we deserve some relief.”

Spain’s death toll for the virus reached 25,100 after 276 more people died in the last 24 hours. That’s down from more than 900 daily deaths reported a month ago.

The total confirmed infections reached 216,582, with another 1,147 reported cases in the last day.

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MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Supreme Court justice says nearly 10,000 poor inmates have been temporarily freed by reducing the amounts of their bails to decongest jails amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen told an online video news conference Saturday most of the more than 9,731 inmates freed since mid-March were from jails on the main northern Luzon island, which has been placed under a massive quarantine.

Some of the inmates, who could not afford to post bail, were released to the custody of local officials, the Supreme Court said.

The Philippines has some of the most overcrowded jails in the world and at least one detention center in central Cebu city has reported more than 200 infections. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on petitions for the temporary release of elderly and ill prisoners amid the contagion.

The Philippines has reported nearly 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 603 deaths, among the highest in Southeast Asia.

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MOSCOW — About one-third of the workers at a vast natural gas field in Russia’s far northeast have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Olga Balabkina, deputy head of the local government in the Sakha republic, says more than 3,000 of the Chayandinskoye fields 10,000 workers have tested positive, according to Russian news agencies.

Employees of one of the contractors at the field reportedly held a protest this week, claiming insufficient measures taken against the spread of the virus.

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PARIS — Eurostar says all its passengers must wear face masks as a safeguard against coronavirus, effective Monday.

In a tweet in French and in English, the international high-speed train service says the policy will apply to both its trains and its stations, “in line with guidelines announced by the French and Belgian governments.”

It warned passengers without a mask could be refused travel. It says any mask is “suitable” if it effectively covers the nose and mouth.

The company has dramatically reduced its services connecting Brussels with Paris and London. There are currently only four trains a day.

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Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Lockdown Wars: Debating Pandemic Measures in a Failed State

Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty on April 30. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

If America has a fast forward button on it, someone should push it ahead to November. We won’t be done with the virus until we’re done with the election. Between prudence and overreaction lies politics.

We bleat about wanting decisions to be based on science, then we do the same dumb red-blue thing, even counting the corona dead differently (nothing left certain but taxes now) to make the numbers seem better or worse depending on shifty politics. Something that should not be about Trump at all is All About Trump.

It’s killing us. There is no other country in the world so driven by a politics so devoid of science. Other countries have good leaders, some not so good. But look at us. Our nation is held hostage to protests and counter-protests, lockdowns and open bowling alleys. There is no other nation where so many are convinced their leader is actively trying to kill them, even imagining he wants them to drink bleach.

The MSM portrays protesters against government restrictions as Trump death cultists who’d rather end up in an ICU than skip a haircut. Such flippancy insults the righteous anger over lost livelihoods. It is an echo of the things that lost 2016 for the Democrats. The people don’t want haircuts. They want to feed their families. They want thought-out targeted restrictions instead of politically driven overreaction and fearmongering. It’s about deep emotional waters, sense of self, a whole lot more than just how the economy will help Trump win or lose. Many also are concerned that their rights, including to assemble, to worship, and to protest, are being controlled by leaders they don’t trust while a media they abandoned years ago mocks them. Beachgoers in a red state are #FloridaMorons; in a blue state it’s #SurfsUp.

But they see this time the Brooklyn elites are going a step further, beyond the deplorable label, to wishing them to catch the virus, figuring the infection will teach them a lesson before they vote wrong again. Wishing death on people you disagree with.

Elsewhere, medical professionals say the protesters have no right to put others’ lives at risk, and think it’s more than OK to physically stop the rallies. That’s called “the heckler’s veto” by the Supreme Court and is not allowed under the First Amendment, whether you’re a hero ER nurse or an abortion protester blocking the door to a clinic. Stopping someone from protesting by shouting them down, driving a car into their crowd, or otherwise trying to interfere with them exercising their rights (including the right to hold a dumb opinion or one you disagree with) is disdainful and unconstitutional.

The medical professionals and their Muppet chorus of journalists sound like some soldiers who felt their sacrifice was made cheap by people who protested the war. Thank you for your service. It does not, however, allow you to choose which people can exercise their rights. When you choose to serve you serve those you don’t define as worthy as well as those you do. It’s bigger than you, doc.

People and governments always invoke the safety and security of the majority when they are taking away rights for “our own good,” just like the Patriot Act did. It’s an old playbook, joined in this century by our First Amendment nannies on social media, who electronically block efforts to organize. If you’re screeching about how rights don’t matter when lives are at stake, you’ve got company. The KKK used that argument to block black people from marching, claiming it was a safety issue. Yet California will no longer issue permits for anti-lockdown protests at any state properties, including the Capitol.

Agree? Just remember what you’re saying now about these redneck inbred gun nuts the next time someone claims a march permit can’t be issued in the interest of public safety to a group you support. It’s the same thing, rights are rights. Because you know what else can spread rapidly if “left unchecked?” Tyranny. Justice Louis Brandeis held free speech is not an abstract virtue but a key element of a democratic society. He ruled even speech likely to result in “violence or in destruction of property is not enough to justify its suppression.” In braver times when Americans challenged the safety vs. liberty argument, the Supreme Court consistently ruled in favor of free speech, reminding us democracy comes with risk. But that was another world ago, before we measured human worth in RTs.

There is science which should be informing decisions. But while claiming a small rally in Denver will cost lives, or Florida will kill people by opening its beaches, the same voices remain silent as NYC keeps its subway running 24/7. The public beach versus public transportation debate came as a new study showed that NYC’s “multitentacled subway system was a major disseminator—if not the principal transmission vehicle—of coronavirus infection,” seeding the virus throughout the city. Without a superspreader like the subway it can be contained locally. It is tragic when the virus rips through a nursing home or meatpacking plant (it is a virus after all, it will go viral), but all of those together barely touch a week’s body count in New York. Shut down mass transport.

We can put most people back to work with limited risk; the protesters are right. The virus kills a very specific patient. About half the dead are over age 65. Less than one percent of deaths are under age 44. Almost 94 percent of the dead in any age group had serious underlying medical issues (about half had hypertension and/or were obese, a third had lung problems). The death toll in NY/NJ under total lockdown: over 27,000. Death toll in much more densely populated Tokyo with “smart” lockdown: 98.

About 22 percent of New Yorkers already have the virus antibody and thus expected immunity. One logical implication of this—that large numbers already have or had the virus, and that it is harmless to them—is simply ignored. Quarantine/social distancing should be for those most vulnerable so we can stop wrecking all of society with cruder measures. Hospitals should separate patients by age. No need to keep kids from school, especially if that means isolating them inside a multigenerational household. Let them wear soggy paper masks to class, even tin foil on their heads, if it makes things easier. Online classes are lame and America doesn’t need a new generation dumber than the current one.

The New York-New Jersey area, with roughly half the dead for the entire nation, practices full-on social distancing while Georgia was one of the last states to implement a weaker stay-at-home policy. Yet as Georgia re-opens, the NY/NJ death count is over 27,000. Georgia is 892. NYC alone continues adding around 500 bodies to the pile every day, even with its bowling alleys closed.

We judge risk versus gain for every other cause of death. We wear condoms. We watch our diets. Time to do the same for the virus. As for lockdowns, we may not even be judging them accurately. Some 22 states have had fewer than 100 deaths. Only 15 states had total deaths for the entire duration of the crisis higher than NYC’s current 500 a day. The original goal of lockdowns, to buy time for the health care system (and most resources were never needed due to over-estimates of the viral impact), has passed. If the new goal is Virus Zero it will never come. If the real goal is to harm Trump we’ll have to put up with this without serious discussion until November.

A Stanford doctor nails it: “Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals, and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation.”

We are fretting and frittering away our national muscle watching TV about a bigamous tiger keeper. There are too many who want this isolation to continue indefinitely, a pathetic nation whose primary industries for its young people are camming and GoFundMe. Politics focuses on viral deaths, but the Reaper keeps a more accurate tally: deaths from despair, from hunger (two million new people became food insecure in NYC since the virus), financial losses (26 million Americans have filed for unemployment), mental health issues, and abuse (domestic murders during the viral months in NYC  outstripped the total from 2019). In some ultimate irony, parents are postponing standard childhood vaccinations for fear of bringing their kids to medical facilities.

It is the reaction to the pandemic that exhausts us, not the pandemic itself. So when someone claims it is Money vs. Life they miss the real answer: It’s both. It should not be taboo to discuss this.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent.

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Pelosi and McConnell Reject Trump’s Virus Tests For Congress Offer

In a joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected Trump’s offer 1,000 virus test kits for Congress.

In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Pelosi and McConnell said:

Congress is grateful for the Administration’s generous offer to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time. Our country’s testing capacities are continuing to scale up nationwide and Congress wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly.

Consistent with CDC guidelines, Congress will use the current testing protocols that the Office of the Attending Physician has put in place until these speedier technologies become more widely available.

Trump offered McConnell 1,000 rapid virus tests because the Majority Leader is bringing the Senate back into session to confirm more Trump judicial nominees. Trump has taken over the federal supply of the rapid coronavirus test kits and only gave each state 100 cartridges for tests. States are not able to get rapid testing cartridges from any other source.

Congress did the right thing by telling Trump to give the testing machines and cartridges to Americans who need to be tested. There is no indication that Trump will follow their recommendation, but Trump’s priorities remain his own self-interest, not the American people.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Extends Lockdown to JULY 6 Despite Ranking 40th on State Coronavirus List with 104 Deaths in State of 4 Million!



TYRANNY: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Extends Lockdown to JULY 6 Despite Ranking 40th on State Coronavirus List with 104 Deaths in State of 4 Million!



















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Longtime Liberal Tara Reade Sees the Light, Admits Conservatives Are Right About the Media

Your level of surprise at how quickly “Believe All Women” became “Believe Some Women” as soon as Tara Reade accused presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden of sexual assault likely varied based on your political persuasion.

Reade is a longtime Democrat. She’s admittedly skeptical of Republican talking points. And yet, here she is, in the midst of a conspiracy of silence by the mainstream media, which would rather pretend this whole thing didn’t exist.

In short, Reade is now a believer in the idea that our country’s media organs have a distinct bias.

“I used to think that a Republican talking point was to call the mainstream media biased,” Reade told BuzzFeed in a profile about her attempts to get her allegation against Biden heard in the media.

“So I used to think, ‘Oh, that’s just a talking point for them. I don’t believe it.’ But now I’m living it [in] real time, and I see it — like, I see it for what it is. Because I am a Democrat, or I was. But now I’m not anything, really. I’m politically homeless.”

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She’s not just being dramatic because it’s her story.

Biden’s appeared all over TV these past few weeks and hosted barren digital events where he answered questions from a selection of the people who bothered showing up.

But, as BuzzFeed noted, he was never asked tough questions about Tara Reade. When he finally was — on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in an interview took place after the BuzzFeed article was published — the result was painful and indicative of a man who clearly hadn’t actually considered what to say when he was finally asked about it.

And then there’s the fact that numerous prominent Democratic Party politicians quickly came to the defense of Biden because, one suspected, he was their best chance of beating Donald Trump. Reade also noticed that she was given markedly different treatment than the women who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Should Joe Biden step aside as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee?

“As Democrats came to Biden’s defense this month as an advocate for women — marking a turn for a party that has embraced the notion of ‘believing women’ as a baseline posture in the #MeToo era — Reade said she believes her story has been given short shrift compared to other accusations of sexual abuse against powerful figures,” BuzzFeed reported.

“She named as an example Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who said she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then Trump’s nominee to the court. After seeing her story refracted through the lens of Political Twitter, Reade said in a series of interviews this month she’s felt ‘marginalized,’ ‘smeared,’ and ‘discounted’ — betrayed by Democrats she said she once admired.”

“It was really devastating when [Kirsten] Gillibrand and Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton, all on the same day, just basically implied my story wasn’t true and they believe Joe Biden. I can’t describe to you what that felt like,” Reade said.

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But the major issue has been the media coverage. She was able to get some exposure for her story via left-wing outlets like “Democracy Now!” and Katie Halper’s podcast, but it took The New York Times almost three to report on her accusation.

The executive editor of the paper, Dean Baquet, later explained that he was “not sure that doing this sort of straightforward news story would have helped the reader understand. Have all the information he or she needs to think about what to make of this thing.”

The end result of The Times’ investigation included a significant chunk of the story dedicated to sexual misconduct allegations levied against Trump, which was apparently necessary for you to “understand” Reade’s allegation.

This is your media, ladies and gentlemen. This is what conservatives have been saying for ages.

Until Mika Brzezinski (of all people) stepped up and finally asked Biden some uncomfortable questions about Reade, no one bothered to press the presumptive Democratic nominee on the credible sexual assault allegation that’s been levied against him.

BuzzFeed’s sub-headline for the story was this: “Reade, who has alleged Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993, believes the media is applying a double standard to her story and Democrats aren’t taking her seriously.”

I know they’re not exactly on our team, but they should come right out and say it: There’s no “belief” here. This is a double standard, full stop. Anyone who “believes” this is an open question isn’t looking at the facts.

Reade mentioned the three words that prove her case: Christine Blasey Ford.

Ford’s claim that Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her had less corroboration, and her story was far more protean than Reade’s.

Yet while Ford is regularly recognized for her “bravery,” Reade is getting attacked for her political beliefs (her support of Bernie Sanders and an ill-advised piece praising Vladimir Putin which she’s since disavowed).

If Ford had done similar things and Republicans had pointed it out, we’d be castigated to high heaven by the same media functionaries now picking apart Reade’s motives — when they address Reade’s claims at all.

It’s cliché because it’s accurate: If there weren’t double standards in the media, there’d be no standards. Tara Reade is finding that out in the most painful way possible.

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‘I’ve Never Seen Biden Do Anything Untoward Toward a Woman’ (VIDEO)

Joe Biden can always count on his RINO buddy Lindsey Graham to jump to his defense.

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham defended pervert Biden against Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations while talking to Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Tara Reade accused her former boss then-Senator Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993.

Reade said in 1993, then-Senator Joe Biden pushed her up against the wall and penetrated her with his fingers.

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Hannity pointed out Tara Reade has corroboration, including witnesses, her mother’s call to Larry King on video and a contemporaneous report filed against Joe Biden.

Lindsey Graham went to bat for his friend Joe and said he’s traveled the world with the former VP and he’s ‘never seen him do anything untoward toward a woman.’

WATCH:

Perhaps Lindsey Graham has ignored the videos and photos of Joe groping women and children and sniffing babies.